Belize Aggressor IV Yacht Runs Aground in Lighthouse Reef Atoll: Investigation Launched
This morning, the Belize Aggressor IV, a 115-foot-long yacht, ran aground in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Just after 11:30, the vessel drifted onto the reef and became stuck during a dive trip. Fortunately, the twenty passengers and staff members onboard were removed by the Belize Coast Guard (BCG) and transported to a nearby island. The Belize Port Authority has since launched an investigation into the incident and will travel to the area tomorrow to assess the damage and launch an investigation. Port’s Commissioner, Darlin Gaitan, says that members of the BPA, the BCG, the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, and the Department of the Environment will be traveling to the area to assess the damage.
Darlin Gaitan, Ports Commissioner: “From what we understand from the initial report is that the vessel’s mooring did not hold the position and so it appears to have drifted and this is when it was reported aground. The Belize Coast Guard who is nearest to the site were already on site or currently on site securing the area and tomorrow we have a deployment of the investigative team comprising of the Belize Port Authority, the Belize Fisheries Department, the Department of the Environment, and the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize. So we have a four-member team going tomorrow to start the investigation. There is the Department of the Environment and Fisheries Department who are going to be conducting an environmental assessment as to the damages that this incident may have caused to the reef or reef assemblage in the area. From the Belize Port Authority we do a safety and also criminal investigation if you will. And so we will determine if there was any for example negligence or want of skill on behalf of the captain that may have led to the incident and those have fines and penalties attached to them as well. And so the investigation is going to look at several things. One, making sense of the incident and how it came about, what are some of the factors that weighed into the incident, and from a safety perspective also to make recommendations so that this type of incident doesn’t happen again and also to assign responsibility where parties may be responsible for the damages that they may have caused.”
We’ll have more on this incident in tomorrow’s newscast.